Foreign Investor blames Gov’t for delay in MovieTowne opening

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By Devina Samaroo

Businessman Derick Chin Tuesday criticised the Guyana Government for not providing enough support to aid in the timely completion of the US$45M MovieTowne project.

He made the remarks ahead of a private-sector organised tour of the facility which is being constructed at Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown.

MovieTowne is an internationally acclaimed franchise in Trinidad and Tobago and its Guyanese-born founder hopes that Guyanese can begin to experience world-class entertainment by August 2018.

Businessman Derick Chin

The opening of the state-of-the-art entertainment hub has been delayed for more than a year and Chin said “red tape” and lack of Government support are major contributing factors to the prolonged postponement.

These issues include:

  • Waiting more than one month to be connected to electricity from the State-owned Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL)
  • Being forced to expend TT$4M to develop a nearby road inclusive of installing streetlights after Government failed to keep its promise to spearhead the initiative
  • Having had to wait more than one month to clear containers for which duty-free concession was granted

Chin said there are other areas where Government support is needed but there appears to be no clear mechanism to communicate with officials.

“Governments need to start loosening up these red tapes. Too much things take too long, you know, we wanna move fast,” he stated.

Businessman Derick Chin (center) flanked by private sector officials during the tour of the US$45M MovieTowne Complex [News Room photo]
Chin noted too that the poor relationship between Government and investors exist even in the twin-island and he called on governments across the Caribbean to do better.

In fact, he noted that one of the driving forces behind his investment in Guyana is the “pussyfooting” of the Trinidadian Government in following through with arrangements for him to invest in an initiative there.

The money he had set aside for that project is what he used instead to invest in Guyana after former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds initiated such talks.

The Trinidadian investor lamented that no Government official in Guyana has checked in to find out the progress of the project, reasons for the delay and whether he needs any support to fast-track the opening of the mall.

The businessman said he sometimes feels discouraged about investing here because of all the setbacks but his vision to transform his homeland is what keeps him going.

Private Sector Commission official and a prominent businessman, Captain Gerry Gouveia was shocked to learn that the foreign investor is experiencing such hardships in completing this multimillion-dollar project.

Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Eddie Boyer said there needs to be clarity on the role of Go-Invest and the Minister of Business in situations like these.

In this regard, President of the Georgetown Chambers of Commerce (GCCI) and Industry Deodat Indar offered to help the businessman to liaise with government officials in order to achieve faster progress.

MovieTowne Mall is now billed for an official opening in August 2018 and while not all the feature attractions will be available right away, some of the stores will be opened as well as the cinema complex.

The popular Hard Rock Café and Massey Superstore will be opened until December while other franchises like IHOP and Starbucks are expected to come on board later.

The entertainment hub will feature a variety of fine-dining restaurants, live entertainment and amusement parks.

Chin said the idea is to create a full-blown family-oriented entertainment hub and shopping centre.

The project has already employed hundreds of Guyanese and thousands more are expected to benefit both directly and indirectly once the mall is opened.

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